Janice Saunders

The staff at Graduate! Philadelphia as well as the instructors and advisors at Neumann University offered me continuous encouragement, critical positive reviews and rewarding information.  After I received my Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts, I changed careers from secretarial/administrative duties to my first dream of coaching and tutoring women to become self-sufficient in mind, body, and soul.

Mayor Nutter, on February 3, 2009, clearly articulated my thoughts and how I feel about adults achieving their fullest educational potential when he stated, “we must encourage our city’s young people and adults to reach higher and get their college degrees. Their academic achievement is important to their own lives and our community as a whole.” At that moment Graduate! Philadelphia’s information flashed on the screen. That’s when I knew I needed to contact them.

In spite of having received two associates degrees; the first in Business Management, the second in Early Childhood Education I continued to feel incomplete. However, enrolling at Neumann University was challenging but the awarding of my Bachelor’s degree broke the stigma I was experiencing by not having a full degree.

One of the greatest challenges was the distance to Neumann’s main campus from my home in Northwest Philadelphia and my fulltime job with the School District of Philadelphia.  Neumann is located in Delaware County.  Their main campus which all undergraduates must attend is in Ashton, PA.  I attended the main campus for two years in the evening from 6PM-10PM two nights per week.

Initially, I drove 45 minutes to one hour each way until my car broke down midway through the second semester.  I didn’t have the money to repair the car.  I had a big decision to make.  How would I get to school? Was I dedicated and strong enough to continue?  I had no choice but to continue on the journey to complete my quest for a Bachelor’s Degree.  My only recourse was to use SEPTA ground and regional rail line,  Now I was twice as nervous as I was when I drove from Northwest Philadelphia to I-95 trying different routes, stuck in traffic, looking out for the state police and crazy drivers.  My travel time increased to two hours each way.  I rode from a bus in Northwest Phila, to the regional rail line in Center City to Chester, PA where I boarded the only bus going directly into Neumann’s main campus.

I often felt like the postman traveling through rain, sleet or snow to succeed in my journey to complete my college education and I did all the way to my Master’s!

With Mayor Nutter’s words in mind and G!P’s encouragement, I returned to Neumann University and enrolled in their Graduate Education Program.  I received my Master of Science in Education in March 2013.  My family was ecstatic and I was happy, proud and joyous that my degree journey was complete.

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